Ambassador J. Enkhsaikhan
of Mongolia in the plenary on the Report
of the Work of the Security Council
New York, October 20, 1999
The Mongolian delegation would like to thank Ambassador Lavrov of the Russian Federation, current President of the Security Council for introducing the annual report of the Council to the General Assembly, which covers the period of 16 June 1998 to 15 June 1999. The report is voluminous, rich in factual material and comprehensive.
Members of the UN have a legitimate interest in the activities of this Council, which not only acts on behalf of all of them but is also the only organ the decisions of which members have agreed to carry out. Therefore Mongolia, like other members of the United Nations, attaches great importance to the General Assembly’s discussion of the Security Council’s report, as envisaged in Article 15 and Article 24.3 of the Charter. This provides an opportunity to discuss the activities of the Council, the possible ways and means to maintain or enhance its credibility, to enhance its effectiveness as well as the effectiveness of coordination and interaction between two main organs of the United Nations, to make the General Assembly an effective organ within the powers accorded to it by the Charter. Therefore we believe that such consideration is equally useful both for the Council and the Assembly.
During the year under review the Council held 121 formal meetings, adopted 72 resolutions, issued 37 statements by the President and held 239 consultations of the whole totaling some 511 hours. During the above meetings and consultations, much time was devoted to the conflicts in Africa, to the questions related to Iraq and the former Yugoslavia. This alone demonstrates that the Council has been seriously seized with the many pressing issues related to maintenance of international peace and security and contributed to resolving many issues, while containing others.
The structure of the report is essentially the same as last year’s. It is a result of the improvements sought and made during the last few years and allows the general membership to be better informed about the activities of the Council. One of the innovations in this year’s report is an addendum reproducing the statements made by the Presidents of the Council to the press following consultations of the whole of the Council. Therefore with respect to the format of the report, my delegation would like to commend the Council.
The content of the report is also being enriched. However, we believe that there is still room for improvement. They include more analytical reports or assessments of situations, of the effect of the earlier decisions taken by the Council, more analytical information on the consultations of the whole, where the decisions are taken de facto. Special reports, envisage by the Charter, could focus on specific issues on which the Security Council could seek the views and recommendations of the General Assembly.
One of the areas where clarification is needed is the communications of governments that are brought to the attention of the Council. The mere listing of such communications in the report without disclosing their content takes 17 pages. Of course, it is assumed that such communications are taken duly note of by the members of the Council. However, my delegation sees little merit in merely reproducing the list of communications without any comment whatsoever. Perhaps the list could be presented in a condensed and analytical form. We hope that the next report of the Council would be even more in the spirit of General Assembly resolution 51/193.
Having commented briefly upon the report, my delegation would like to briefly focus on the following questions:
1. Peacekeeping operations. The report clearly demonstrates that peacekeeping operations continue to be essential for maintaining peace in many parts of the world, including cease-fires within States. Of late the peace-keepers are also being charged with other missions, reflecting, as the Secretary-General has pointed out in his report on the work of the Organization, the need of transition from a culture of reaction to a culture of prevention. It also reflects recognition of the fact that in many cases a multidimensional approach to peace-keeping is required. My delegation subscribes to the holistic approach to security. Though not a military power, nevertheless Mongolia believes that it can make its contribution to peace-keeping operations by contributing in the areas where it could be useful. Bearing this in mind the Government of Mongolia has decided to participate in PKOs and last month it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the United Nations on stand-by arrangements, whereby it would participate in future UN operations, contributing staff officers, military observers and medical officers.
2. Humanitarian intervention. The general debate held earlier as well as the debate on the report of the Secretary-General on the work of the Organizations have demonstrated that the question of the so-called humanitarian interventions raises many delicate, debatable and pertinent questions. They include questions of State sovereignty, of moral imperative to act forcefully in the face of gross violations of human rights and many other questions. My delegation fully agrees with the Secretary-General when he stated in his report that enforcement actions without Security Council authorization threaten the very core of the international security system founded on the Charter of the United Nations. We therefore believe that the Security Council should carefully look into this question, which could have far-reaching consequences.
3. Another question that is justly raised is the perceived inconsistency of the Security Council when responding to humanitarian emergencies. This has been raised in the Security Council itself as well just recently when the Council was considering the progress report on the situation in Africa. We agree with the Secretary-General that the principles of multilateralism and humanitarian ethics should be applied equally based on the criterion of human need. In this respect my delegation welcomes the steps taken by the Security Council in dispatching its own fact finding mission to East Timor which led to the adoption of its resolution S/Res/1264.
4. Turning to the question of relationship between the United Nations and regional organizations, my delegation would like to point out the importance of involving regional organizations in PKOs and managing regional conflicts. This kind of relationship is important for many reasons, including even financial, when decisions are taken sometimes by the Council with little regard for their financial requirements. The consequences of such decisions could be enormous. We believe that in cases of involvement of regional organizations, which we support in principle, clear line of authority should be established on the ground and the central role of the United Nations, particularly of the Security Council should be upheld, as reflected in the Charter of the United Nations. Acting otherwise or even circumventing the United Nations and the Security Council would lead to erosion of not only the credibility of the Council but could also have negative consequences for international peace and security.
5. One positive innovation in the practice of the Security Council is increased holding of open thematic debates on different issues. Thus lately the Council has held open debates on such issues as land-mines, children soldiers, protection of humanitarian assistance workers, post-conflict peace-building, protection of civilians in armed conflict and some others. Some of such debates were followed by action on the part of the Council, including statement by its President and even resolution of the Council. We believe that this practice of involving the wider membership of the United Nations should be continued and enriched.
Open debate allows non-members of the Council, especially smaller States, to contribute to the examination of the issues. In many cases they are in a better position to understand the problems, interpret the situation and offer possible solutions. We agree with the view that such debates should be organized and scheduled in such a manner so as to allow the views of non-members not only to be heard but also considered. That, in our view, would be in the spirit and correspond to the purpose of such debates. One of such issues on which perhaps the Council could consult with the general membership in the near future is non-proliferation, the question of assessing the situation with respect to CTBT, how to make it operational. We believe that this matter warrants the Council’s attention, if not action.
6. Question of sanctions. On this question I could be very brief. My delegation’s views have been reflected in the 1998 Durban Final Document of the Non-Aligned Movement.
7. The last question that my delegation would like to touch upon is the question of equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the Security Council. Though it is a question that does not directly relate to the report of the Council, nevertheless a word or two about the work of the open-ended working group (WG) is in order.
We believe that the WG is doing a fair job, though much faster progress is expected of it by the majority of membership. However, the progress of the WG depends in the final analysis on the positions of States members themselves. We believe that most of the positive steps taken lately by the Security Council with respect to its working methods and rationalization of its procedures have been prompted by the proposals made in the WG. During its last meeting of the WG registered some progress when it was finally agreed that “the question of the enlargement of the Security Council implies the consideration of the question of veto”. The Mongolian delegation believes that movement in this direction should be pursued at the next meeting of the WG. Speaking of the question of ‘veto’, my delegation finds interesting the idea proposed by Germany in the general debate that perhaps the permanent members should be required to explain their negative votes cast in the Council on ‘non-procedural matters’, i.e. their ‘vetoes’, to the general membership in the Assembly.
With respect to the cluster I issues, especially the expansion of the Council’s
membership, we believe that “progress” or “breakthrough” depends
to a great extent on the political will of States, rather than on the skill
of negotiators in the WG.
Mr. President, the reform of the Security Council, which is an important part of the reform of the United Nations, is till yet to be realized. My delegation believes that all peace-loving States would stand to gain from a reform that would strengthen the Security Council, making it more open, transparent and efficient. It is in this spirit that members are making business-like comments and offering constructive proposals.